Local PPE manufacturer The Canadian Shield lays off employees citing industry-wide issues –

CEO Jeremy Hedges said group purchasing contracts leave little room for Canadian manufacturers to compete, put thousands of jobs at risk

After stepping up to address the need for reliably sourced, locally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE) in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, local PPE manufacturer The Canadian Shield has laid off 47 employees, citing issues in bringing their face masks and shields to the healthcare industry.

CEO of The Canadian Shield and Inksmith Jeremy Hedges took to Twitter amid news of the local layoffs, offering clarification on what he calls an “industry-wide issue” for PPE manufacturers across Canada.

In a thread on Twitter, Hedges pointed to several issues previously mentioned by another local PPE manufacturer, Eclipse Innovations, as he said many Canadian manufacturers have been left unable to sell their products to our country’s hospitals due to existing industry contracts signed prior to the pandemic. While Hedges said his company’s “Flag of Canada” automation system allows The Canadian Shield to remain competitive “penny for penny with China,” existing group purchasing contracts with importers have hospital PPE supply secured for up to seven years.

“This is an industry-wide issue for PPE manufacturers across Canada,” wrote Hedges. “Thousands of jobs and millions of private and public sector dollars are at risk.”

Hedges said The Canadian Shield has five-million masks and two-million face shields currently sitting on their shelves, as he called for the Canadian government to open contracts to allow Canadian manufacturers to compete. That move, wrote Hedges, would pave the way for a sustainable home-grown PPE industry.

“The companies that have invested in innovation will quickly build market share and set the foundation for a thriving medical device industry,” wrote Hedges. “This is a complicated issue, and we’re confident that Government and purchasing organizations that manage these contracts will help to find a solution for this vital industry.”

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